Communication Studies, Department of


Date of this Version



Personal Relationship Issues 5:1 (January 1998), pp. 1–4.


Copyright © 1998 International Network on Personal Relationships.


In answering the call to explore everyday aspects of personal relationships, we planned a thematic symposium for the 1997 INPR [International Network on Personal Relationships] conference in Oxford, Ohio, titled, “‘Everyday Relating’: Studying the Ordinary Aspects of Personal Relationships.” We brought leading scholars together to facilitate discussion groups to explore how this diverse group would respond to the call to focus research attention on everyday relating. We asked the participants to consider: “How should we approach and study everyday relating in personal relationships?” We gathered panelists representing diverse disciplines, theoretical perspectives, and research methods. Panelists shared their perspectives and led discussions on three questions: (a) what aspects of everyday relating should we study, (b) what theoretical perspectives might we employ to study everyday relating, and (c) what research methods might we use to study everyday relating?

Discussion groups were facilitated by Graham Allan, Valerian Derlega, Kathryn Dindia, Steve Duck, Mark Fine, Stanley Gaines, Mark Leary, Rowland Miller; Julia Wood, Paul Wright, and Julie Yingling. As evidence of the fertile nature of this topic, it was evident that these groups covered a wide range of thoughtful and important issues, perhaps raising more questions than they were able to answer. In this essay, we attempt to summarize the results of this symposium, hoping that it is not an endpoint, but a continuation of a dialogue begun by others before us.

As we began to synthesize and report on the discussions, we realized that the discussions focused on four topics (rather than the three questions we had given groups to discuss): (a) what is everyday relating? (b) why study everyday relating? (c) what are important aspects of everyday relating to study? and (d) methodological considerations.